The development of new technology is not showing any signs of slowing down.
But as technology evolves, so do the threats posed by cybercriminals and viruses.
One white hat hacker (who works with companies to improve their security systems) has pointed out the many vulnerabilities in systems we now take for granted: in our cars, our home alarm systems – and even in pacemakers.
What are the emerging threats that cybersecurity firms must learn to deal with?
‘Internet of things’ will come under attack
The ‘Internet of things’ is a concept which has been talked about for a long time.
The story goes that as technology progresses, more and more devices will become connected to the Internet. For example, imagine ordering your groceries directly from an interface panel connected to your fridge.
While a fridge is a relatively innocuous example, imagine the effect a ‘dronejacking’ cyberattack might have.
Ransomware is on the rise
Ransomware attacks are becoming more and more common. This is where a virus will essentially lock up a person’s computer, before demanding money in exchange for a key to unlock the system.
If the person doesn’t pay up, their local data is generally deleted in response, and the virus may attempt to make their system unusable.
Security firm Symantec has predicted that there will be large scale ransomware attacks on cloud-based software and storage in 2017.
With more firms now relying on cloud solutions to manage customer and business data, this is a serious risk. Companies need to think hard about how best to protect their cloud presence from attacks.
Hacktivists seek to score political points by knocking out servers, taking down, taking over, or defacing websites – among other activities.
They achieve their ends by many means, but one of the most common forms of hacktivism comes in the form of Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.
This method uses multiple systems, sometimes in the form of compromised computers working as ‘botnet’ under the control of the attacker(s). They will use this to flood a targeted system with traffic – incapacitating it.
Cyberterrorism is not quite the same as hacktivism. Although it may also have a political objective, its primary aim is to cause as much disruption and fear as possible.
Terrorists may seek to disrupt networks used by healthcare systems, government organizations, markets like the NASDAQ or NYSEMKT stock exchanges, or even military institutions.
The intention might be to disable capabilities that may be used against them, or to cope with the aftermath of a secondary, physical, attack.
The potential fallout from acts of cyberterrorism are of concern to governments around the world.
The result of this may be greater regulation surrounding cybersecurity in the future. This will bring with it greater compliance costs, but that’s only the start of the potential issues.
Tech companies may be required to build ‘back doors’ into their software to allow governments to monitor usage.
This could be an expensive task. And critics have pointed out that leaving any door open will actually allow anyone in. All they need to do is to find the right door.